Internet Takes a Big Step to Its Future Tomorrow

Giants will test longer Internet Protocol address system
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 7, 2011 2:25 PM CDT

(Newser) Scientific American posing a jarring question as headline today: "Will the Internet Stop on June 8?" And the answer is: Er, no. But the Internet will start to grow up a little. Tomorrow is World IPv6 Day, when Google, Facebook, YouTube, and other giants will conduct a 24-hour test of a new Internet Protocol address system. As SA explains, the current IP address system (IPv4) allows for 32-digit binary numbers. When it became the standard in 1977, the 4.3 billion addresses possible seemed way more than the world would ever need. Now they're just about gone.

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The IPv6 format has 128 digits, and big Internet and web companies have been acquiring the longer addresses in recent years. Tomorrow is the first big test of their use, one that should help point to any potential glitches when a full changeover takes place to the new protocol. "If everything goes according to plan, you won’t notice a thing," writes Frances Robinson at the Wall Street Journal. (Read more Internet stories.)

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